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MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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2020 Big D Soccer Staff Predictions for FC Dallas and MLS

As a new season approaches, our staff takes a stab at what will happen in 2020.

It is that time once again! The new season is here and our staff has come together to field their predictions for the new year.

Here are our predictions for 2020. Feel free to make your predictions below.

FC Dallas predictions

What excites you most about the upcoming season?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: FCD winning a triple. Or maybe just one trophy, but I’m seeing silverware.

Jason Poon: Jesus. Gonna be a breakout year for him.

Jack Rouse: New additions: Let’s see what Jara and Santos can bring. Will they push the team over the top?

Nathan Hill: I am ready to see the development and sale of more young players. I think Reggie Cannon departs in the summer, opening the door for the growth of a new right back. Paxton Pomykal is ready to take his next step. Ricardo Pepi scores. I hope Nkosi Burgess turns out to be the next Matt Hedges.

Ryan Scanlon: What excites me the most is watching FC Dallas’ MLS Cup winning season!

Scott Hiney: After a really strong playoff match against Seattle, and with the gained experience of this team’s young core, I’m very interested in seeing how those homegrown players fare this year, specifically Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira, as they’re poised to make a similar jump in their abilities like we’ve already seen Reggie Cannon make.

Mo Bushnaq: Year two with Luchi. His rookie season is out of the way and I’m excited to see what kind of adjustments he makes with the team to take them to that next level.

Drew Epperley: Year two under Luchi. I really want to see where this team goes and how well they continue to grow.

Jeff Loftin: Season 2 with Luchi at the helm. I think this season has the potential to be really enlightening for the fanbase, providing a glimpse into the plans of the club. This first large round of Homegrown playerss will be fun to watch grow and (likely) follow abroad.

Jose Carmona: The thing that excites me most about the new season is watching the kids grow up, and elevate their game. I think that if any of FCDs budding young stars take the next step, FC Dallas will be a real threat. If more than one of the kids take that next step, then MLS is in trouble. That combined with the arrival of a true big name #9 in Jara, has me over the moon with anticipation.

Etan Cohn: To see Jara, an experienced goalscorer, join this young squad and score goals.

Andrew Gentry: I don’t know. I feel like Franco Jara should get me excited, but the delay is kind of a buzzkill. Seeing our young guys get another year of growth is super exciting in theory, but I’m also petrified of seeing any of them stagnate or regress. This team is so incredibly solid and so incredibly un-exciting all at once. I think the excitement is going to be a slow burn this season, but it could end in fireworks.

Jared Tilley: Seeing how this team is able to play once we get, what looks like, a legit striker. We will finally be able to answer the questions of whether this squad has really only been missing a goal scorer or not.

What worries you the most going into the season?

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: Injuries and player sales.

Jason Poon: Inexperience. As a whole, the team is still very young. Can they really make a collective leap as a unit?

Jack Rouse: Defensive depth: Dallas didn’t look great in the back at times last year and the only defensive reinforcements are youngsters. Will depth continue to be a problem or are the youngins more than enough?

Nathan Hill: The defense will be tested, especially on the outside. I like Hollingshead and Cannon up against anyone, but if Cannon is sold and injury issues crop up, the team is going to be tested on the outside. Plus, that left wing spot is still up in the air. Will Mosquera or Picault lock down a definite starting and star role?

Ryan Scanlon: Our inconsistent strikers. We aren’t getting Jara until midway through the season.

Scott Hiney: Winger depth on the right behind Michael Barrios and all of the options on the left side. This playing style needs aggressive and playmaking wingers, and I’m only confident in Barrios thus-far.

Mo Bushnaq: With the eye test, it seemed the defense regressed a little last season. The Ziegler-Hedges partnership is a year older, so I’m curious to see if Bressan forces his way into the starting lineup if the backline struggles.

Drew Epperley: Injuries. We’re already seeing a good bit of them pop up in preseason play, and to key players as well.

Jeff Loftin: Our defense is uncertain. As much as I love our veteran CBs, I would like to see an injection of youth into the central defense, someone to challenge Ziegler and Hedges and (eventually) replace them.

Jose Carmona: For me, I’m most worried about injuries. Paxton isn’t 100 percent, and that affects him, and the entire team. I do like FCDs starting 11, and their overall depth, but seeing how young this team is, injuries could really stall the development of some of the players.

Etan Cohn: Long adjustment period. With an influx of exciting new signings, it is likely that it will take time for these new players to acclimate to the team.

Andrew Gentry: What worries me most is that all the incredibly solid talent I think we have actually turns out to be uninspiring and mediocre. That keeping most everyone from last season is actually a step backward rather than building continuity. That secretly, Fafa Picault is actually Dom Badji in disguise.

Jared Tilley: Health in key places. Hedges and Zeigler are each another year older and play tons of minutes for this team. I worry that if either one of them was to go down for any significant amount of time, the team wouldn’t be able to overcome it.

Who will be FCD’s Golden Boot winner in 2020?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: Zdenek Ondrasek will win the Boot with 16 goals.

Jason Poon: Jesus. 14 goals.

Jack Rouse: Jara has the best goals/minutes, but Cobra has the highest tally this season with 13.

Nathan Hill: A fun answer would be Jara, but his arrival is late. I am going with Zdenek Ondrasek. Over the course of the season, he ends up with 13 goals, while a bevy of other players get near double digit marks.

Ryan Scanlon: COBRA! Probably 9.

Scott Hiney: Jesus Ferreira. 12.

Mo Bushnaq: Jesus Ferreira with 11.

Drew Epperley: Jesus Ferreira (again) with 11 goals.

Jeff Loftin: Jesus Ferreira - 14 goals

Jose Carmona: It’s going to be Jesus Ferreira. I thinks that Cobra will lead all goal scorers early, but will drop minutes to Jara in the second half of the season. This means that Jesus will simply outlast both of the #9s, and finish with a 12 goal tally, and the Golden Boot.

Etan Cohn: Ondrasek with 12 goals.

Andrew Gentry: It better be Franco Jara. Even in an abbreviated he should get 13-15 goals.

Jared Tilley: Jesus Ferreira - 12 goals

Who will be FCD’s best player (under 23) in 2020?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: Jesus Ferreira. Durable, tricky, and coming off leading the team in goals last year, Chuy will be a dynamo this year.

Jason Poon: Jesus. Gotta give it up for the Golden Boot winner.

Jack Rouse: Pomykal finds his feet in the system alongside Santos and Acosta.

Nathan Hill: Jesus Ferreira. I think Paxton will have a solid year (despite injuries), but Jesus will mature, lock down a spot with the USMNT, and score 9 goals. He may get sold in the summer or if not in the coming winter window.

Ryan Scanlon: Reggie Cannon. He’s the best right back in the league and he’s going to show it this season. Excited to see how much better he is this season.

Scott Hiney: Jesus Ferreira. Half because I think Reggie Cannon won’t be here after the summer and half simply because of how much he’s raised his game recently, Jesus might be the offensive catalyst this team has needed –– but had all along.

Mo Bushnaq: Jesus Ferreira. He will continue to grow into the game and combine for 15+ goals and assists this year.

Drew Epperley: Jesus Ferreira - he’ll continue to stand out and grow more and more as the lead attacker on this squad. Plus, I see Reggie Cannon getting sold this summer so that helps make this decision a little easier.

Jeff Loftin: I think Jesus will be our best player U23 this season. Only because I am not 100% convinced that Reggie will be here all season. If Reggie is here through the whole season then I would say him, otherwise it’s Jesus.

Jose Carmona: The answer to that is Reggie Cannon. His improvement in the attack will cause teams across MLS nightmares. He’ll continue to draw fouls in scoring positions for FCD, and he’ll continue to get assists on his crosses.

Etan Cohn: Paxton Pomykal. He is an extremely talented player, and has much to prove this season.

Andrew Gentry: It’s crazy to even think about the number of players eligible for this category! Cannon, Pomykal, Ferreira, Servania, Cerrillo, Roberts, Pepi! All ranging from must starts to spark plugs, but that’s still an obscene number of contributors for this age group. I’m bullish on Brandon Servania though, and I think he’s going to open some eyes around the league this season.

Jared Tilley: Paxton. At this point, the only thing keeping him from exploding onto the scene are his injuries. As long as he can get/stay healthy, he will be the heartbeat and talisman of the team.

Who will be FCD’s break out player in 2020?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: The Cobra- He’ll build on how he finished and have a great Euro tournament. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

Jason Poon: Jesus. (OK, I’m being a bit lazy now but that’s what I really think.)

Jack Rouse: Santos gives FCD the Gruezo replacement they missed last season.

Nathan Hill: Thiago Santos is not actually going to break out since he is a legitimate established player, but from the perspective of FCD fans, I think he will be a big signing and bring a lot of stability and bite to the squad. Santos and Acosta and Servania could become the dominant midfield trio of the year. We will look back with Santos’ addition and say, “Gruezo? Who?”

Ryan Scanlon: Harold Mosquera. I feel like this is the season where he shows exactly why we’re putting him on the wings so much. He’ll produce a good number of chances. Remains to be seen if we’ll be able to convert those chances.

Scott Hiney: Fafa Picault. I’m hopeful he’ll surpass Santiago Mosquera on the left side and become a solid first team player, scoring and assisting in high single-digits.

Mo Bushnaq: Brandon Servania. We saw glimpses of it last year, but I feel Servania is ready to explode on the scene.

Drew Epperley: Santiago Mosquera - I know it is weird thinking he’ll be a breakout guy but given his numbers since joining FCD, the bar isn’t super high for him to attain this kind of thing. If he gets six to eight goals and a few assists, I would be thrilled.

Jeff Loftin: Paxton. I know it sounds weird but I think he will finally have the type of season that we’ve been waiting for from him. Jesus had a bit of a coming out party last season and I think this season will be reserved for Pax in that regard.

Jose Carmona: Pepi will become a menace off the bench, and will even earn a couple of starts. Pepi will only finish with six goals on the season, but some of those will be game winners.

Etan Cohn: Pomykal will break out because he will have the opportunity to playmake with a talented attack this year.

Andrew Gentry: Brandon Servania. Obviously if I think he has a better season than Paxton or Reggie, two USMNT-ers, then it’s going to be a break out. But I would not be surprised to see him get to 2k minutes with 5+ goals and 5+ assists (plus a silky 3/4 field run to the final third every game).

Jared Tilley: Pepi. He now has a full year under his belt at this level. He will be more comfortable and should be pushing to get 20-30 minutes the majority of the season off the bench. With the playmakers around him, he should be able to get some good looks at goal and if there is anything that we have seen with Pepi so far is that he is pretty dangerous if free in the box.

Who will be FCD’s top defender in 2020?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: Matt Hedges. In his prime and steady as he goes- he also wins because he won’t get sold this summer.

Jason Poon: Ryan Hollingshead - never bet against Ryan.

Jack Rouse: Reggie Cannon puts on a show before being sold in the summer.

Nathan Hill: Matt Hedges. It’s hard to not pick our stalwart hero as he reaches his peak, leads the line, and looks to close out his career with FC Dallas. Granted, he has several years in the tank left for sure. I just don’t see anything yet to make me think another defender will surprise, though I would love for Nkosi Burgess to be the surprise on the back line and win a starting spot. I do hope Bressan has a solid year, but I’m not sure what to expect from him either. So, it all comes down to the Captain.

Ryan Scanlon: Reggie Cannon. Best right back in the league like I said. We’ll watch him having a ton of fun this season.

Scott Hiney: Reggie Cannon. He’ll be so good, he’ll get himself sold in the summer (but that’s a good thing and proves his ability).

Mo Bushnaq: Ryan Hollingshead. Solid as a rock and always dependable.

Drew Epperley: Matt Hedges - The defense starts and ends with him. I know you could argue the same for Reto Ziegler but the emotional side of the team tends to lean towards Hedges.

Jeff Loftin: Reggie Cannon. Young, athletic, good defender, experienced and hungry. This guy will be an MLS best XI if he stays all season.

Jose Carmona: Reto Ziegler will continue to be a rock in the backline, and will simply play many more games than Hedges (due to injuries).

Etan Cohn: Reggie Cannon. He has been breaking onto the scene with the USMNT, and will continue his rise this year with FCD.

Andrew Gentry: Reggie Cannon. It will be a bounce back year in some regards because he wasn’t particularly great last season. But his attacking verve from the national team will carry over this season and he will be a major handful every time he steps on to the field.

Jared Tilley: Matt Hedges - He just sees the game so well. He might not have the speed he did coming out of college, but he is able to anticipate the game. He has been a rock in the back for almost decade now and I assume that will continue again this year.

Who will be FCD’s Team MVP in 2020?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lyon: Michael Barrios. He’ll be with the team the whole time, and he’ll keep doing his Energizer bunny bit with better finishing to complement the danger he consistently provides.

Jason Poon: Paxton Pomykal - again, this team goes where he goes. If he can put in 20 games in 2020 at that elite level that we saw in March against LA or against RSL, he’ll be the difference between falling below the playoff line and pushing for the top seed in the West.

Jack Rouse: Bryan Acosta cuts down on the long shots and becomes the team’s centerpiece.

Nathan Hill: As high as I am on Jesus Ferreira and his USMNT emergence, I think the Olympics are going to draw him away enough that it opens the door for Michael Barrios to once again be team MVP. Barrios is a beast. He is relentless. He is fast. He will do even better with more attacking options around him, so I think Michael increases his assist totals and dominates the stat line this year. Imagine what he is going to do when Jara shows up?

Ryan Scanlon: Reggie Cannon!! As stated in my previous answers, I think this is going to be Reggie’s season and will cement him as an absolute legend in FCD’s folklore.

Scott Hiney: Jesus Ferreira (I know, I’m going all-in). I think he’ll lead the team in scoring, and maybe even in assists, as he makes a big jump in his development this season.

Mo Bushnaq: Paxton Pomykal. Whether or not he’s able to contribute in a meaningful way, he will be the most valuable player for this team. The season will go as well as Pomykal performs.

Drew Epperley: Jesus Ferreira - It is going to be his year, I can feel it.

Jeff Loftin: I think Jesus will be the MVP this season as he will provide the early season goals until Jara arrives, and will help carry the load until Paxton comes online full-speed.

Jose Carmona: Michael Barrios will be your team MVP. He’ll match last seasons assist totals, and will see his scoring increase because of improved attacking options around him.

Etan Cohn: FCD’s MVP will be Michael Barrios. He is consistently an attacking presence, even when the attack seems to fall flat.

Andrew Gentry: So. Many. Options. It could be a break out year for a number of young guys. Or some steady production from some old heads. Or and explosive new signing. I don’t know. I feel like it’s going to be Jara because this team has been crying out for a pure striker for ages. And if he puts away the chances that so many others have squandered, and leads us to the playoffs, it has to be him.

Jared Tilley: Jesus Ferreira. I just assume Jesus will continue to grow and produce. There will probably be players with more assists or even more goals, but his combined G+A should lead the team.


MLS predictions

Biggest story (non-FCD related) you’re following.

Ben Lyon: Home road splits on results have wildly favored home teams in MLS. Will chartered travel significantly shake up results?

Jason Poon: Austin FC - stadium should be finished in a little over a year, roster moves will be happening - what kind of team will Claudio Reyna and Josh Wolff put together? Chicharito was supposed to be that marquee signing, so who’s it gonna be?

Jack Rouse: New CBA.

Nathan Hill: Expansion team madness! Look, the East will likely have a Shield winner this year, because there are simply too many cupcake teams to feast upon. Will Inter Miami struggle? Nashville? Cincinnati? Of course. The league needs to help each of these franchises figure themselves out. Cincy is a mess with recent coach drama on top of everything else. What will it be like this year with Cincy still seemingly in expansion phase and Inter Miami and Nashville making their debut?

Ryan Scanlon: How the new CBA plays out with the season. With more chartered flights and the elimination of TAM will make it very interesting this season in the way teams play and get built.

Scott Hiney: How the recent influx of LigaMX signings fair in MLS, including the performance of Franco Jara.

Mo Bushnaq: Will Inter Miami compete in this league immediately or will they go the way of Orlando and Cincy? Also, what kind of impact does the new CBA have on the league?

Drew Epperley: Normally I say expansion (as in who will get in next, not the actual newcomers to the league even though I find both Miami and Nashville intriguing for different reasons) but for me it is going to be how the new CBA impacts the league. Will the increased amount of charter flights make that big of a difference? Will the TAM going away into GAM mean much for clubs like FCD?

Jeff Loftin: Inter Miami - is it going to be show or not?

Jose Carmona: Chicharito enters a no win situation. He has to replace some big shoes, and I’m not convinced he can do it to an extent that will match expectations.

Etan Cohn: USMNT.

Andrew Gentry: The general bump in quality that the league has been making the last few years feels like it took a larger leap this off season. There are some genuinely exciting teams and players all over the place. It’s going to be a fun, fun season. And I think this is the year a MLS league breaks through in CONCAF.

Jared Tilley: How far will Atlanta and LAFC drop back to the pack with the selling of a lot of their big time contributors.

MLS Predictions 2020

Prediction Ben Lyon: Jason Poon: Jack Rouse: Nathan Hill: Ryan Scanlon: Scott Hiney: Mo Bushnaq: Drew Epperley: Jeff Loftin: Jose Carmona: Etan Cohn: Andrew Gentry: Jared Tilley:
Prediction Ben Lyon: Jason Poon: Jack Rouse: Nathan Hill: Ryan Scanlon: Scott Hiney: Mo Bushnaq: Drew Epperley: Jeff Loftin: Jose Carmona: Etan Cohn: Andrew Gentry: Jared Tilley:
Eastern #1 Atlanta United Atlanta Untied NYCFC Atlanta United Atlanta United Atlanta United Atlanta United Atlanta United Atlanta United Atlanta United New York RB Philadelphia New York RB
Eastern #2 Toronto FC Toronto FC Toronto FC Toronot FC NYCFC NYCFC NYCFC Columbus NYCFC NYCFC Atlanta United NYCFC NYCFC
Eastern #3 Philadelphia Union NYCFC Atlanta United New York RB New York RB Toronto FC Montreal Toronto FC Philadelphia Inter Miami NYCFC Toronto FC Atlanta United
Eastern #4 NYCFC Columbus DC United DC United Philadelphia Philadelphia New York RB NYCFC Toronto FC New England DC United Atlanta United New England
Eastern #5 Orlando City DC United New York RB Philadelphia New England Chicago Orlando City Philadelphia Chicago Chicago Chicago Chicago Toronto FC
Eastern #6 New England Philadelphia Philadelphia Orlando City Toronto FC New York RB Philadelphia DC United Inter Miami New York RB Philadelphia New York RB Orlando City
Eastern #7 Columbus New Englnad New England NYCFC Columbus Columbus Columbus Orlando City Columbus Philadelphia Orlando City New England Philadelphia
Western #1 FC Dallas LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC LAFC FC Dallas LAFC LAFC
Western #2 LAFC LA Galaxy Seattle FC Dallas Seattle LA Galaxy Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle LA Galaxy LA Galaxy LA Galaxy
Western #3 San Jose Seattle Real Salt Lake LA Galaxy LA Galaxy Seattle LA Galaxy LA Galaxy LA Galaxy FC Dallas Seattle Seattle Seattle
Western #4 Colorado FC Dallas LA Galaxy San Jose FC Dallas FC Dallas FC Dallas FC Dallas FC Dallas Minnesota Sporting KC Portland Portland
Western #5 Sporting KC Portland Portland Seattle Portland Portland Sporting KC Minnesota Portland Portland Portland FC Dallas FC Dallas
Western #6 LA Galaxy Sporting KC Minnesota Portland Houston Sporting KC Real Salt Lake Colorado San Jose LA Galaxy LAFC San Jose Sporting KC
Western #7 Portland Minnesota FC Dallas Real Salt Lake San Jose Minnesota Houston Sporting KC Minnesota Real Salt Lake Houston Minnesota Real Salt Lake
Supporter's Shield FC Dallas LAFC LAFC Atlanta United LAFC LAFC LAFC Atlanta United LAFC LAFC FC Dallas LAFC Seattle
MLS Cup FC Dallas FC Dallas LAFC FC Dallas LAFC Seattle NYCFC LAFC NYCFC FC Dallas LA Galaxy LAFC LAFC

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